They have a midterm on poetry terms coming up, as well as a close reading poetry analysis. I added this test in here so I would have less weight on the final, and also to smack the students upside their heads a little while still very early in the semester ---- thinking that this might change their studying behaviors for the better, without scaring them from the class entirely.
Now of course I am going back and forth on evil-ness, being as indecisive as usual. Last week we had a day with activities that went, of course, horribly, because not only had they not done the reading, they didn't listen to the directions I gave them (willfully, perhaps) when I tried on the fly to re-vamp the exercise to avoid their unpreparednes and many of the groups ended up doing an analysis of the encyclopedia article summarizing the myth we were looking at instead of the poems re-interpreting it. Argh.
But on the other hand they are all turning in their homework regularly and it is starting to sound, almost in spite of themselves, like literary analysis. And some of them have great insights or patches of great insights in their homework, so some of them might be slacking more because the class is too easy than too hard. It is, as always, hard to tell.
Anyway, I could collect their essays and jump right into the next literary genre, handing out the short piece I usually discuss at the beginning of the semester, or I could do a poetry terms review day for the midterm. We only have 50 minutes, so I don't think we have time for both.
I haven't even decided on the format of the midterm, which could be fill-ins or matching or identifying material from sample poems or pretty much anything, I don't know. My group last semester really freaked out about the final and I came in 1/2 an hour early to find them in groups, studying their little hearts out, with notes and diagrams strewn everywhere and some of them reading the literary terminology passages I had assigned for the first time, I'm sure. I'd love to scare them into that state of being earlier in the semester than the final, and hopefully get them in the habit of reading and studying. I say that but now am at the stage in the semester where I don't feel like doing it or grading it.
Of course, recall of terms isn't really the same as analysis or synthesis, and I am seeing in the homework the same old problem of people trying to figure out bits of the formal qualities and some summary of the poem but no idea of how to put the two together. And maybe it would be better to do the midterm before the paper next time, to push them into learning the terms and then applying them? Hmm.
Any thoughts? Should I take a poll on evil vs. non-evil? Anybody got any good midterm torture ideas? I guess you could make a case for clemency too.